After a special week with my family, I headed out on the four-hour journey back to Maysville. I spent some of that time gazing out the window, admiring God’s creation. I’ll admit I’m often awestruck by the glorious trees as fall begins its transition to winter. On this particular Sunday afternoon, I must say God totally outdid Himself! There it was surrounded by other trees showing their beauty. I had never seen a brilliant red sugar maple as beautiful as that one!

Moments later the Lord began to speak me. “Be that sugar maple,” were the words He spoke into my heart. People encounter all sorts of people in a day, a week, a month and a year, but as Christians, we should stand out from all the rest. Even when we are among fellow believers, let us be the one who is unforgettable because of the light of Jesus Christ that shines through us.

I began to think of people who have stood out to me. Most were with me for a season, but their impact is for a lifetime.

We had so many sweet people who lived in my Sugar Hill neighborhood. Still, I remember this sweet couple who probably lived a quarter of a mile down the street. I’d walk down to my friend’s house to let her know my mom was taking us to get an ice cream. Oftentimes, the couple was sitting on the porch and eager for a conversation. If they ever found out we were heading for a treat, they insisted on footing the bill. It’s those people who give without expecting anything in return, that leave an impression on me.

I’ll never look at a smiley emoji without thinking of my elementary school teacher. Mr. Harrison put a smiley face on every paper, plastered them around the classroom, and he wore that smile in the classroom. That educator was a red maple in a sea of teachers and students.

I can’t even remember how many years I played softball, but I do remember my coach. He showed me how to be a Christian on the field. I never heard him scream at my teammates, the umpires, or the other side, and we were always a winning team. What a coach! He also happened to be my dad, Wendell Langford. The tallest red maple in my entire life.

I also think of my early years in the church, and I’m thankful for the red maples who sowed into the lives of the young people at our church and others who have helped me to grow in the Lord as an adult. Mr. and Mrs. Crocker, who lived near Mt. Sinai Church, were giants in the faith. The unique aspect of my relationship with them is that we never regularly attended the same church, but we saw each other occasionally. They showed me the most genuine love of the Lord and humility that I can remember. I’d visit with them on occasion, and I even attended a prayer meeting at their home one Friday evening. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a move of the Lord like I did in that little house with those servants.

As I continued on my ride back to north Georgia, I looked and looked for another tree that stood out among the rest, but I never saw one. The Lord let me know those are few and far between, and He encouraged me to stand out like the red sugar maple for all the world to see. Today, I encourage you, be the outstanding godly example that this world so desperately needs to see.

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